Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical

Michael Moore's 9/11 film, Part 2

[Part 1 located here if you missed it the first time around.]

People keep saying everyone should see Michael Moore’s latest movie. Can i start saying everyone should read Ann Coulter? I learned a ton from her books, more than i bet i would learn from MM’s movie.

Andrew Sullivan says:
THE FILTHY CRITIC: He's a big lefty who hates the president. But he has a lot more intellectual integrity than Paul Krugman. Check out his evisceration of Michael Moore.
To quote from said evisceration:
The result is propaganda for people who already agree with him, but won't change the minds of anyone whose mind you'd want to change. The people who disagree will continue to disagree, because Moore does nothing to counter their arguments. The movie would be a shitload more effective if it were focused on disproving conservative myths instead of creating a whole slew of liberal ones via implication.

That's what I'd like to see. A movie that doesn't pander to the NPR totebag crowds shuttling edamame home to their mud-compact homes in V-4 Saabs. One that has an answer every time the SUV-driving, fried-children-eating, baby-seal-beating Republicans say "But what about..." In stead we get a movie meant to make liberals feel good about themselves.

Now if I hear one more jackass say "Everyone should see this movie," I'm gonna kick him (or her) in the nuts. What they mean is, "Everyone should see this because I'm right and you should be forced to agree with me. Oh yeah, and I'm an asshole." Sure, everyone should see this, and everyone should read Bill O'Reilly's books too. You're a pompous ass if you think everyone should see it just because its what you believe. Only people who want to should see it. And they should see it as part of a much larger curriculum. You should know enough to make up your own mind, not let Michael Moore do it for you.
This made me laugh out loud. (And dude, it’s actually almost real.)

David Adesnik talks more about "how to defend Michael Moore without compromising your own integrity."

Jane Galt talks more about the “it’s okay for Moore to do it ‘cause GWB did it first” argument, and discussion continues in the comments. Go read the whole thing.

More from Andrew Sullivan:
QUOTE FOR THE DAY: "[Michael Moore] says that the whole of American foreign policy is determined by the Saudi Arabian royal family. Now, the Bush administration has been to war with two of Saudi Arabia's friends. The Taliban, who they helped to impose in Afghanistan, and the government of Saddam Hussein, which they regarded as their buffer state against the Shia. The actual history is exactly the opposite of what Moore's paranoid suggestions are. He openly says that he believes that the other side of this war, the Islamic jihad, torturers, saboteurs, beheaders and fanatics and murderers are the equivalent to the American Minutemen. So welcome to his contribution to the 4th of July celebration. The man is openly on the other side in this war, and the film shows it in every frame." - Hitch, on CNN, telling it like it is. Actually, I think Moore may be objectively on the side of the Jihadists. But subjectively, he simply loathes American market capitalism more than Islamist fundamentalism. This mindset is structural. It was the same in "Roger and Me." And like all ideologies, it is resistant to any new data. So the threat of Jihadist terrorists using weapons of mass destruction is unimportant to Moore compared with outsourcing or the nefarious Bushes or evil corporate America. Those are his priorities. Nothing changed on September 11 for Moore. He has simply used that tragedy to pursue his ancient objectives. And they are a terrible, cynical distraction from the war on terror. In other words, Moore is guilty of the fundamental charge he has leveled against this president.
Instapundit has lots of links here.

Ray Bradbury’s pissed about Michael Moore riffing on his title.
I accidentally called the movie “Fahrenheit 451” the other day, though to be fair i’ve had the using of RB’s title in my head for weeks since a number of people mentioned it, and that’s largely why i call it “Michael Moore’s 9/11 film,” though i didn’t know until now whether MM had had any actual dealings with RB, only speculation that MM hadn’t asked RB’s permission and that perhaps RB would not be happy about the co-optation of his title.
Believing in Bush’s perfidy gives some people the same comfort and emotional nourishment others get from believing in Jesus. It validates them, cements their view of the world – venal, conspiratorial, run by capering chimps who are somehow ten times less intelligent than Usenet posters but somehow able to yank strings on a global scale. A commenter on a Fark thread called Bush “The Unelected Murder Monkey,” for heaven’s sake. Not all the opponents are unhinged, of course. Of course. There are many levels of opposition, from the serene and reasonable to the char-broiled nutburgers who haunt the comments sections of my favorite blogs. Or my favorite talk shows. Today I heard a caller describe how “Fahrenheit 9/11” affected him; now he believed that the Bush administration attacked the Taliban and Iraq because the Saudis wanted it. The host pointed out that the Saudis didn’t want it. The caller said “well, that’s your opinion.” Movies are facts, you see. Facts are just opinions.

Ooooh! You’re really spooked by F911, musta struck a nerve, eh? Scared that Chimpy McDeath is gonna go down? I love that: Moore’s on the cover of Entertainment Weekly and Time and who knows what else; he's the big magilla of the month. But respond to his assertions and you’re acting out of frantic panic. Right. I admit, I don’t like Mr. Moore; I don’t share his contempt for the American people, and I think he’s a dishonest polemicist.

-James Lileks
I really need to read David T. Hardy's Michael Moore Is A Big Fat Stupid White Man. MLN doesn't have it yet, though.

"Michael Moore basically agrees with many of the controversial conclusions of under secretary of defense for policy Douglas J. Feith" Tee!

More on the Passion parallels, this time from Cathy Young of Reason:
A number of people have compared Fahrenheit 9/11, the new film by left-wing enfant terrible Michael Moore, to the other controversial hit movie of 2004, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. In his weblog, journalist Andrew Sullivan outlines some unflattering similarities, from the demonization of the villains to the emotional bludgeoning of the audience with graphic violence to the crude exploitation of a bereaved mother's grief. Several film critics have also pointed to the kinship between the two movies.

There are intriguing off-screen parallels, too. Both films became the focus of heated debate before their release; both had troubles with distributors. Both Gibson and Moore adroitly milked the controversy for all it was worth, marketing their oeuvre as the movie that The Powers That Be (Hollywood and the liberal media, the Bush administration and the conservative attack machine) didn't want you to see. In each case, this politicized and polarizing marketing campaign appealed to its target audience's sense of paranoia and victimization: to many conservative Christians' conviction that they and their values are under assault by secularist liberals; to many liberal Democrats' conviction that they live under illegal occupation by an evil fascist clique.


Other critics who, not long ago, assailed The Passion of the Christ for its simplistic mindset, its intolerance, its lack of balance, and its distortions of history have praised Fahrenheit 9/11, sometimes while fully acknowledging that it shares these flaws. [...]

Edelstein, for one, is startlingly candid about one factor behind this attitude. It can be summed up as: Michael Moore is a demagogue, but he's our demagogue. This point is underscored by the caption on a still with his review, " 9/11: Bias and bullying in a good cause." Edelstein freely admits that many of Moore's swipes at his targets are boorish cheap shots, but he laughs anyway because they're directed at the right people. Moore's shameless manipulation of facts and emotions, he concludes, "must be viewed in the context of the Iraq occupation and the torrent of misleading claims that got us there," and in the context of the right-wing hate-mongering of the Ann Coulters and the Rush Limbaughs. This is the playground argument: They started it.


Meanwhile, some conservatives will no doubt use Moore's movie as a justification for nastiness and demagoguery on the right. Is Michael Moore the counter-Ann Coulter? Is Ann Coulter the counter-Michael Moore? Either way, the vicious cycle keeps getting more vicious. Just recently, the Bush-Cheney reelection campaign contributed to the Moorification (or Coulterization) of public discourse with a television ad that juxtaposed Hitler images with ones of Al Gore and John Kerry. Their excuse? The Hitler images were taken from two ads comparing Bush to Hitler, briefly hosted by the democratic fund-raising group MoveOn.org earlier this year among some 1,500 entries in a contest. In other words, they started it. (At least MoveOn.org removed the spots and expressed regret over their appearance.)

Maybe Michael Moore is a man for our time. That's a pretty damning indictment of our time.

"Nonfiction Films Turn a Corner" by Sharon Waxman in the July 5, 2004 NYT made me weep.
"One of the reasons that these films are doing so well at the theaters is this old strict rule — that documentaries have to be pure reality — has been thrown out the window," Mr. Barker said. "There's a much more flexible definition of a documentary. It includes what you'd read on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times."

Given the growing popularity of documentaries, some filmmakers and movie executives say there is a need for a more vigorous debate about definitions and standards. In nominations for the best-documentary Oscar, for example, voters from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences do not scrutinize the accuracy of a film.

And unlike investigations undertaken by television news programs like "Frontline" and "60 Minutes," nonfiction films reflect the point of view of the filmmaker without editorial oversight. Some recent documentaries that have involved journalism-style investigations, notably the Oscar-nominated "Capturing the Friedmans," have drawn questions about their balance and accuracy.

"There are a whole number of really important questions here," said Errol Morris, a documentary pioneer whose "Fog of War," about former Defense Secretary Robert S. McNamara, won the Oscar this year. "Does it makes sense to talk about a movie being true or false? I'm not sure it does. In fact I'm pretty sure it doesn't. Movies are movies."
The Academy that gives documentary awards doesn’t scrutinize the accuracy of the films? Movies are neither true nor false so we don’t need to worry about factual accuracy in documentaries? I don’t want to actually have no faith in humanity, but stuff like this helps not at all.
Tags: michael moore

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